Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Around the Substacks: from Van Gogh Sneakers, to Delaware courts, to Pierre Poilievre and the CBC

First up, here is an example of the type of creative thing that AI can now do: Van Gogh Sneakers
For anyone interested in creating fascinating stuff via AI (Artificial Intelligence),  Ethan Mollick has written a One Useful Thing article: How to How to use AI to do practical stuff: A new guide. Here is his introduction
The first thing people try to do with AI is what it is worst at; using it like Google...
Second, they may try something speculative, using it like Alexa, and asking a question, often about the AI itself. Will AI take my job? What do you like to eat? These answers are also terrible.
If people still stick around, they start to ask more interesting questions, either for fun or based on half-remembered college essay prompts: Write an article on why ducks are the best bird. Why is Catcher in the Rye a good novel? These are better. As a result, people see blocks of text on a topic they don’t care about very much...They usually quit around now, convinced that everyone is going to use this to cheat at school, but not much else.
All of these uses are not what AI is actually good at, and how it can be helpful. They can blind you to the real power of these tools.
Moving on, here is one significant aspect of the Dominion vs Fox lawsuit that I hadn't heard about before - it was held in a Delaware court:
... the Delaware Courts go to great lengths to cultivate a coherent body of corporate and commercial case law that is constantly being refined, and its the fcking sine qua non of all intellectual thinking in the space. ... There are entire countries around the world who just go: “Nah, we don’t have corporate law, we just wholesale adopt whatever Delaware does, kthxbai.”
But it’s not even only the intellectual quality and tenor and coherence of the case law that’s so impressive. It’s just the way the Courts handle themselves, from the top to the bottom. It’s also the vibe of the thing, which I’ve discussed before. It’s all notable. Everyone that attended this trial noted how impressive it all was. ...
There’s no denying that — at a time in our country where the justice system can be an incredible embarrassment to the notion of justice itself — Delaware is an absolutely exceptional class act. And it absolutely matters.
Back here in Canada, at Scrimshaw Unscripted, Evan Scrimshaw discusses the potential impact of Poilievre's stupid attack on the CBC twitter account, in a post about Poilievre's Press Problem:
...The number of people who aren’t on Twitter who will hear about this is infinitesimally small, because the kinds of people who will actually click a link to this story who aren’t already on Twitter is tiny. If you care about Twitter, you’re on Twitter. So as a direct consequence, there’s no pain to be suffered. Indirectly, though, I’m not sure....
What could matter is whether this incident – that is mostly an irrelevance to the country at large – has a bigger, disproportionate impact on the commentariat, which could change the tenor and tone of the coverage of Poilievre.
... it’s not great that the thing that might cause a change in the press’ tone on Skippy is Twitter drama, but it’s also fair to point out that this Twitter drama is really fucking childish. At some point, the instances of Poilievre being childish and unable to get through a press conference will add up, and while there’s no reason to think that any of these instances in themselves will move votes, every time Poilievre gives the press and the commentariat a chance to focus on him negatively is a day the government isn’t being hit with stories on their sore spots.
If we fast forward to the night of the next election and the Liberals have won a fairly status quo fourth term where them and the NDP have a clear majority together, this won’t be why Poilievre lost. But it might be one of the barnacles that helped move the press and the commentators against him, and those are dangerous. ... Poilievre’s whole thing is that he’s focused on delivering for normal/regular/non-elite Canadians while the Liberals are in their ivory towers of elitism, but the problem is if the commentariat starts calling you out for being reactionary, jumpy, and easily baited, it’s not hard to turn Poilievre into the guy focused on nonsense while the Liberals are focusing on delivering child care and dental care....
He needs to re-pitch himself as a slightly calmer, less flappable leader – a change in tone more than focus – and he needs to take the cudgels of dental and child care off the table from the Liberals to use in the next campaign. If he shows any willingness to do that he can win, but if Poilievre continues going down culs-de-sac of shitposting and pissing off the press, he’ll just incur more and more negative coverage that will over time help destroy him.
At The Line, Andrew Tumilty also has some advice for the CPC -- Poilievre might need a new business model:
Poilievre may say he’s running for prime minister, and a wide swath of voters may believe he is, but what he has yet to do is start acting like he is running for prime minister. This distinction does matter, and demonstrates Poilievre may not fully grasp the business that he is in.
...Poilievre may have made a name for himself as a rage farmer and petulant partisan gladiator. It worked, as far as it went. He’s the leader of the opposition and the Conservative party, and neither of those things is easily accomplished. If he wants to be prime minister, though, that cannot continue to be the core principle of his business.
He needs to appear to be the leader of a government-in-waiting. He needs people who don’t hate Justin Trudeau to vote for him. He needs to assure Canadians that faced with a crisis, he is capable of offering more than fundraising memes and hyperbolic rhetoric.
In short, he needs to understand he is selling the idea of Pierre Poilievre as prime minister, and to do that, he ought to start acting like one.
Poilievre's anti-CBC campaign, and getting a man-child like Musk involved, is making Canadians angry: And then the CBC told Musk that less than 70 percent of its funding comes from the Canadian public, so of course Musk gleefully started using "69" in the CBC twitter label and Poilievre approved - just another Beavis and Butthead moment, I guess: Here's an example of what the CBC means to Canadians: I'm not crying, you're crying...

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